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In-Focus Newsletter – January 28, 2021

January 28, 2021

Updates

Covid Testing: Following concerns from providers and the FDA, the State of Colorado has cancelled its contract with Curative Labs for ongoing Covid testing in long term care communities.  Moving forward all providers will be assigned to one of three lab partners: The State Laboratory (CDPHE), Colorado State University, or Mako Medical.  Testing costs will continue to be covered by the state.  Many providers have already been contacted by the state to be made aware of their new lab partner, and all providers should know their partner by Monday, February 1.  More information may be found on the Residential Care Strike Team website or the Health Facilities Community Blog.  For questions about current testing practices, or your lab partner assignment, please send your questions to: ResidentialCareStrikeTeam@state.co.us.

Five Star Restarting: On January 27, 2021, nursing home Five-Star ratings were updated for the first time to reflect quality and survey data during the COVID-19 pandemic and 2020. Five-Star ratings were held constant during most of 2020 to prioritize infection control efforts to prevent and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in nursing homes. With this latest Five-Star release, infection control focused survey deficiencies from 2020 were counted as complaint surveys for methodological scoring and rating purposes.

Several quality measures used to determine Five-Star ratings now reflect data from July 2019 to June 2020 (Q3 2019 – Q2 2020). These quality measures reflect a time since March 2020 when visitation from friends and family and social group activities, like communal dining, were restricted or prohibited by the federal government to prevent and mitigate COVID-19. Staffing data in this January 2021 release reflects staffing from July 2020 to September 2020 (Q3 2020). This is the second update to Five-Star ratings with staffing data reflective of data in 2020.  Below are a few resources related to 5 Star:

Post-Partnership Vaccination Plans: Vaccinations in nursing homes and assisted living centers have been underway in Colorado since the end of December 2020. Each care community has been scheduled for three clinic dates as part of the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long Term Care.  The Pharmacy Partnership will no longer exist after all three clinics have been completed in every LTC setting in Colorado.  The American Health Care Association has been advocating with CDC for long term care providers to receive post-partnership vaccines through their usual long-term care pharmacy partner.  At this point it seems likely that the CDC will issue that recommendation as guidance to states, and Colorado officials have indicated that they are likely to follow CDC guidance. CHCA will provide more information as it becomes available.

Vaccine Encouragement

With any vaccination effort, there is some natural hesitation on the part of those receiving the vaccinations. One of the few tools we have in the fight against Covid is this vaccine effort, and vaccinating as many as possible should be our goal. While there are no immediate plans to change visitation or testing based on vaccination rates, the percentage of staff and residents vaccinated will eventually play a role in returning our care communities to some sense of normal.

We realize that simply offering a vaccine is not sufficient to secure widespread vaccination uptake among long term care residents and staff.  With partnership from several Medical Directors, CHCA has been hosting Vaccine Acceptance Office Hours.  These events provide an overview of vaccine safety and efficacy, and give participants an opportunity to talk through their questions with an MD.

Previous Office Hours were recorded, and the recordings and presentation slides can be found on the CHCA Vaccine Acceptance Website.  Links to the upcoming Office Hours events can be found here: January 29th, 10:00 AM and January 29th 2:00 PM.

Nursing Facility Advisory Council Recap

The following topics were briefly updated by Richard Clark from HCPF at the January NFAC Meeting:

  • An Updated Memo on Section Q of the MDS is now Live – Click Here to view it.
  • The 2021 Pay for Performance Portal has been live since mid-December and the application is due on 2-28-21. Click Here for the most recent excel version of the application.  If you have trouble accessing the portal for your Nursing Facility please contact Matt Haynes with HCPF (haynes@co.state.us)
  • The 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Payment for Medicaid Nursing Facility providers is targeted to paid at the end of February. It will be paid via the supplemental payment system and follow the same methodology as the payment made during 2020.  Also similar to the 2020 payment, the amount received will offset on the 2021 Medicaid Cost Report.  The total amount expected to be distributed is $13.3 million.
  • For those residents who have Colorado Medicaid as their primary or sole insurance coverage, a nursing facility should not pay their vaccine partner pharmacy for any expense related to the resident being inoculated for COVID-19. These pharmacy partners will be able to bill Medicaid directly for these charges.
  • CHCA Social HourThe past year has taken away nearly all of our opportunities to network and connect across the long term care profession.  The CHCA Council of Associate Members has created the CHCA Social Hour to help members connect virtually and have an opportunity to see some of the friends and colleagues that you’d usually see at CHCA events and meetings.  The CHCA Social Hour will take place on February 26th at 3PM, and anyone working for a CHCA member organization is welcome to join (hint: if you’re getting this newsletter you work for a CHCA member organization).  There’ll be time to re-connect, play Jeopardy and win prizes.  We hope you and join us. [Click Here for Zoom Link]

Upcoming Education

Food, Nutrition and Dining in Long Term Care

Join long term care experts in a series of classes designed to help you meet the needs of an increasingly diverse and clinically complex population while staying survey ready.  These classes can be taken individually or as a combined series.

Day 1: February 2, 2021 Day One will cover resident rights, a regulation review, survey trends and infection control and prevention.

Day 2: February 3, 2021 Day Two will cover Food Safety, Maximizing Food Storage, Managing Allergies and Food Preferences, and Nutrition for Wound Healing.

Day 3: February 4, 2021 Day Three will cover Leadership, Emergency Management, MDS/PDPM, Recruitment and Retention, and Working Remotely with your RD During Covid.

Activity Documentation

Part I: February 9, 2021 Part I will review best practices and guidance for completing initial/admission activity preferences, along with the MDS guidelines and writing a care plan. We will examine how documentation relates to the regulations, and where common deficiencies are within these 3 pieces of documentation.

Part II: February 10, 2021 As we take our foundational knowledge of individual preferences from care plans, we will begin to expand our knowledge of providing person directed Therapeutic 1:1 programming and documenting accordingly, review best practice with attendance documentation, and making a review of an individual with comprehensive quarterly/ annual/change of condition notes. We will also explore the regulations around these practices, and where common deficiencies are made, and why.

OSHA Blood Borne Pathogens Standard Overview for Health Care

February 11, 2021 The presentation will provide guidance to employers for compliance with the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard and inform them of resources available on OSHA’s website. The topics will cover determination of employee exposure, the Exposure Control Plan, engineering controls and personal protective equipment, work practices, waste disposal, Hepatitis B vaccination, post-exposure procedures, employee training, and recordkeeping requirements.

Free Webinar- Kepro: Beneficiary Family Centered Care-Quality Improvement Organization (BFCC-QIO)

February 17, 2021 KEPRO is the Beneficiary and Family Centered Care Quality Improvement Organization (BFCC-QIO) for 29 states. We offer information and assistance to providers, patients, and families regarding beneficiary complaints, discharge appeals and service terminations, and Immediate Advocacy.  This course will provide an overview of KEPRO’s purpose and services.

Upcoming CHCA Meetings

Please note that the meetings below are open to ALL CHCA members.  All are welcome

BI-Weekly Membership Call     February 3, Noon This call will provide updates on current happenings within the profession and offer participants an opportunity to ask questions of the CHCA team.

Quality Initiatives and Leadership Council-February 9, 3 PM

Nurse Executive Council-February 11, 8:30 AM

Bi-Weekly Membership Call-February 17, Noon

Governmental Policy Council-February 18, 10 AM

Board of Directors Meeting-February 18, 12:30 PM

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